adrian is rad


valley of DEATH

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:00 pm

I spent the weekend in Death Valley with Dylan, Andyl, and Dale. We’d heard that there was the best wildflower bloom in many years, some saying 50. When Andy originally suggested Death Valley, I thought it was about four hours away. Turns out that it’s about ten, maybe nine if you don’t stop for any breaks. California is quite large and there aren’t any direct routes there.

How do you fit twenty hours of driving and wildflower viewing and sleeping in a weekend? Well the last thing gets knocked a bit. We ended up leaving at 4:45am on Saturday; I’d gone to see Paddy Keenan on Friday night (to be blogged about later) and had ended up going to bed at about 1:30 and waking up at about 3:45 in the am.

We got to the park after stopping for breakfast and at the jerky guy previously mentioned on this here website at about 2pm or there abouts. We stopped in Stovepipe Wells, trying to figure out if we should camp there or go on–we didn’t get an answer from the rangers whether Sunset was already full so we decided to go on. We ended up finding a spot in the Sunset overflow tent campsite, which is basically a gravel parking lot. A flat parking lot with a nice view, but if you’re going, bring a mattress pad. Andy and Dale regretted they didn’t.

After registering for and claiming our tent site and setting up the tent, we headed off to some dunes that we’d driven by on the way from Stovepipe Wells to Sunset. Dylan has a bunch of photos online of our adventures climbing the dunes. We ended up making it to the top of a maybe 100 foot dune. It was quite a nice view over many dunes and into the mountains. We saw a muted sunset from up there and then made our way back to the car.

My big plan as soon as I saw the hills behind the Sunset campground was to get some PBR and go up into the hills a bit after dinner. Turns out the general store at Stovepipe Wells didn’t have any PBR, so we got giant cans of Foster’s.

Who could predict what would happen when we got into the hills and started in on the beers? I can. I will tell you what happened.

We invented a new sport. Competative rock stacking. The rules will be goverened by the IFRS (International Federation of Rock Stacking). The short of it: you must stack reasonably sized rocks as many high (serially, no parallel stacking) as you can. Dale won a tight contested match against Dylan 12 to 11 with a questionable rock 1.

We ended up going to sleep pretty early and waking up around 6:30. After breaking camp, we did a quick hike at Natural Bridge and a stop at Badwater Basin (lowest point in the US!) we hit the motherload. There are a couple areas between Badwater Basin and Salsbury Pass that are just spectacular, especially near the mill ruins and one right near Salsbury Pass. Fields entirely yellow, like velvet from afar.

I’ll develop my films in the next couple weeks and get them online.

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